Valentine’s Day, synonymous with love and romance, is once again bombarding us with all things red and pink remotely associated with amore and desire. Sandwiched between Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day, it is one of the most commercialized days of the year.
A frenzy that takes hold of the country every year leading up to the 14th of February: from cards to flowers, teddy bears to underwear, chocolates to jewelry, and not to mention red balloons labeled, “For the one I love this Valentine’s.” And now “Love locks” or Valentine padlocks started cropping up in the most romantic cities of Europe like in Paris or Rome. This is how it works: Lovers have their names engraved in a padlock, lock it to some bridge, monument or fence and throw away the key. Ah…tied together forever. Ain’t that sweet?
So far I haven’t heard objections to this new trend from environmentalists. Surely tons of discarded metal keys thrown into rivers present some damage to the environment? How about the clean up? Are these love toys here to stay?
Inventive marketers sell this novelty gimmick as ‘a unique twist on a centuries old tradition that symbolizes the locking of your life and love’. A variation on tying the knot? Well, a ring never was a guarantee for eternal love and romance anyways. Divorce statistics are proof for that. An old fashioned locket with a locke of hair or picture of the beloved ─ now that’s what I would call a romantic token of oneness.
When I grew up in Germany, I never even knew that this heavenly day existed. I can’t say when it reached the German shores; probably in those years when I was already married and had moved to Ireland. I received my first Valentine’s card at 35 from an elderly gentleman who picked up his grandchildren from the same school that my kids frequented. It read “To the one I am dreaming about.”
“If you ask me, it’s all one big commercial hype over nothing,” he called down from his tractor, scratching his head. And ever the lyrical poet, he added, “Just another day for selling things, what with Christmas being over and Easter far away. Just like the fad of Mother’s Day.”
With that clarified, he put his woolly cap back on and returned to his task at hand, cleaning up the manure on the yard. Needless to say, I never got a Valentine’s card from him after that.” (Excerpt from: Next Time Lucky”).
I hate to admit that now many years, many admirers and many Valentine cards later, I agree with my now ‘Ex’. The last straw proving the commercialism of V-Day are the ravioli on sale at this time of the year. Yes, you guessed it. Heart-shaped and red.
The frenzy of Valentine’s Day may be a necessary boost to the economy but also a time in a single’s life that many would happily skip over unmarked.
Be warned – these padlocks may be coming to a bridge near you…